What is HSK?

China's Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, known as HSK or the Chinese Proficiency Test is a standardized test at the state level designed and developed by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University to assess the Chinese proficiency of non-native speakers (foreigners, overseas Chinese and students of Chinese national minorities). HSK consists of the basic Chinese proficiency test (HSK Basic), the elementary and intermediate Chinese proficiency test (HSK Elementary-Intermediate) and the advanced Chinese proficiency test (HSK Advanced). HSK testing is held regularly in China and other countries every year. Certificates for the HSK tests are issued to those who have secured the required scores.

The Chinese Ministry of Education has established the China National Committee for Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) (CNCCPT). The Committee is supervises HSK and the issuer of the Chinese proficiency certificates.

  1. About Applicants of HSK
  2. Because HSK tests general language proficiency, it is not based on any particular textbook or course of study. Differentiated by levels of difficulty, HSK is divided into three categories with Eleven Levels:

    There are 11 score levels in HSK, of which Level 3 to 5 signifying the basic, Level 6 to 8 the elementary and intermediate and Level 9 to 11 the advanced.

    HSK (Basic) applies to those learners with the basic Chinese proficiencies, namely, those who have taken 100 to 800 hours of regular modern Chinese learning (including those with the equivalent learning experiences).

    HSK (Elementary-Intermediate) is for those who are at the elementary and intermediate level in Chinese proficiency, i.e. those who have taken 400-2000 regular hours of modern Chinese courses (including those whose proficiency in Chinese is similar to that standard).

    The HSK (Advanced) is designed to measure the Chinese proficiency of those who are proficient in Chinese, i.e. who have taken 3000 regular hours or more modern Chinese learning (including those whose proficiency in Chinese is similar to that standard).

    These three categories of the HSK test form a comprehensive testing system, ranging from basic to advanced levels (The highest level in "Basic" overlaps the lowest level in "Elementary-Intermediate"). An HSK applicant must decide which of the three categories of the test is applicable to him or her.

    Students with four years and above of Chinese studies are recommended to take HSK Elementary-Intermediate, whereas students with three years and below are recommended to take HSK Basic. Students with exceptionally good language competency (typically having received regular education in China for many years) are encouraged to take HSK Advanced.

  3. The functions of HSK Certificates
    1. To certify that the holder has acquired the required Chinese Proficiency to enter a college or university as an undergraduate or graduate student.
    2. To certify that the holder can be exempt from taking the Chinese language course depending on the level of certification.
    3. As a basis for the employers to evaluate the Chinese proficiency of the job applicants.